This last Sunday I had the privilege of teaching Abby and my Sunday school class. The passage we were going over was from Luke 18 where Jesus was telling a parable about the Pharisee and the Tax collector.

In those days, a Pharisee was a religious leader, a rule follower, the holier than thou pastors of the day that were well respected and revered in the Jewish community. They were the guys that took the ten commandments and made guardrails around them so that they wouldn't even get close to breaking the rules. 

Now take the exact opposite of that and you have a tax collector. They were jews themselves that would take advantage of their own countrymen by collecting the tax for Rome, but would over charge and keep the excess. They were rich, and they were morally bankrupt. 

Now the story Jesus tells is about these two men going to the temple to pray to God. I'm sure everyone already figured out the end of the story... or at least they thought.

The Pharisee stands before people and shares his resume of greatness. 

The Tax collector huddles far off and beats his chest not even looking to heaven. He knows he has nothing to bring to God or nothing he can do to justify himself before a holy righteous and just God.

Jesus says that the Tax collector is the one who left justified while the Pharisee does not.

What a shocking twist to a crowd thinking it should have been the other way around. 

I find that in my own life though, many times I find myself in the shoes of the pharisee, sharing my resume of good deals and all the reasons why I am righteous, when in reality, I am like a child trying to clean himself up after rolling in the mud. There is nothing that I can use to clean myself up with that isn't already as bad off as I am. 

We need Christ. He is our hope. A Holy Righteous and Just God needs a perfect sacrifice. I can not repay what is owed. That's where they heart of "Cling to the Cross" comes from. What many would consider Christianity's greatest downfall was in fact our greatest victory. Christ's death brought me life. Not because I deserved it, but because He gave it. 

This is the hope that we have. The light that we carry. 

My prayer for you, is that you can rest in this truth. You don't have to clean yourself up to come to God. He has offered a way that has nothing do to with your effort, just your acceptance.